Finalists named for Arizona’s Cox Conserves Heroes Program

Above: Photo courtesy of McDowell Sonoran Preserve Environment | 11 Jul, 2017 |

Cox Communications and The Trust for Public Land are recognizing volunteers who are creating, preserving or enhancing shared outdoor spaces. Finalists for Arizona’s Cox Conserves Heroes program were announced today, and the public is being asked to vote for the winner now through August 7. To vote, visit and select the Arizona area. A total of $20,000 will be donated to local environmental nonprofits on behalf of the three finalists.

Finalists have already secured a $5,000 donation for their environmental nonprofits of choice and are now competing for an additional $5,000 – bringing the total award to $10,000 for the winner’s nonprofit of choice. 

Arizona’s Cox Conserves Heroes program is sponsored locally by OdySea Aquarium. OdySea Aquarium in Scottsdale, AZ, is the newest aquarium in the country.  Spanning 200,000 square feet, this multi-level, state-of-the-art facility holds more than 2 million gallons of water and is the largest aquarium in the Southwest.  With over 65 exhibits and 500 different species, there are more than 30,000 animals that call OdySea Aquarium home.

Arizona’s 2017 Cox Conserves Heroes Finalists

Eric Sophiea founded Climbers Association of Southern Arizona in 2015 to build an empowered group of rock climbers who give back to the community. As President, Sophiea dedicates thousands of personal volunteer hours managing all levels of the registered 501(c)(3) organization. He has forged collaborations with nonprofits and conservation agencies, including the AZ Wilderness Coalition, AZ Conservation Corps and the US Forest Service. His nonprofit of choice is the Climbing Association of Sourthern Arizona

Ashley Camhi has fostered an engaged group of volunteers who work on issues related to renewable energy, water conservation, protection of open space, elimination of food deserts and more. For the past 10 years, Camhi has worked with governments in Latin America and the Caribbean identifying optimal natural resource protections while expanding development. Camhi is currently a doctoral candidate researching ways the U.S. Department of Agriculture can incentivize farmers to increase land conservation improving water quality. Camhi’s nonprofit of choice is Arizona Sustainability Alliance.

Dora Martinez is a University of Arizona Distinguished Professor Emeritus and former Acting Dean of the College of Architecture. Martinez works as a Pro Bono advisor to the nonprofit Flowers and Bullets Collective in their efforts to conserve the 9.7-acre site that previously housed the Julia Keen School. Martinez hopes to turn this lot into a productive agriculture center, where she can continue to mobilize youth and neighbors to produce healthy food out of the space.  Her nonprofit of choice is Flowers and Bullets Collective.

Melinda Gullick, Brad Lancaster, Greg Clark, Marilyn Hanson and Shawn Redfield are previous recipients of Arizona’s Cox Conserves Heroes award. 

As either a finalist or winner’s nonprofit of choice, the following Arizona organizations have received financial support from the Cox Conserves Heroes program: Arizona Native Plant Society, Desert Harvesters, Friends of Tucson’s birthplace – Mission Garden, Living Streets Alliance, McDowell Sonoran Conservancy, Mission Garden, Nina Mason Pulliam Rio Salado Audubon Center, Audubon Arizona, Garden Pool, Phoenix Mountains Preservation, Southern Arizona Buffelgrass Coordination Center, Tigermountain Foundation, Trout Unlimited Arizona State Council, Wild At Heart, Arizona Trail Association.

In partnership with The Trust for Public Land, the national Cox Conserves Heroes program has donated nearly $800,000 to environmental nonprofits, and nearly 200 volunteers have been honored. The Cox Conserves Heroes program takes place in Arizona, California, Georgia, Florida, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Virginia and Washington, and is part of the company’s national Cox Conserves sustainability program that is celebrating its 10th anniversary.

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